In their latest release, the DONTNOD Entertainment reward its fan base with a brief interlude into the Life is Strange universe. The Amazing Adventures of Captain Spirit is a two-hour free game that briefly introduces the sets the stage for the up and coming sequel of Life is Strange.
Taking us on a journey through a child’s eyes, the game introduces players to the universe of the sequel. Above all else, it delivers a truly compelling cinematic story-driven experience.
A story of innocence and despair
A beautiful musical introduction leads us into the typical Saturday morning of young Chris Erickson. From the toys, the costumes and the posters it’s clear Chris has a love for superheroes. Playing through the game, you’ll experience Chris’ imaginative world. In his world, he’s Captain Spirit taking on the forces of evil! Not long after getting comfortable with the controls and the scenery, a call for breakfast introduces us to his father. It was clear, however, from the way he spoke, something isn’t quite right. The presence of alcohol at breakfast, the sadness when his mother is brought up and the ominous red bruise on Chris’ arm. All of these seem a little too suspicious to let you think Chris is leading a normal life. This is where the innocence breaks and reality sets in.
Don’t let the cheerful setting and upbeat title lure you into what seems to be a happy story. In between these bright colors and imaginative ventures, DONTNOD sets a stage built on hidden meanings. The game also put a heavy emphasis on the looming sense of death and it’s extremely well done. Meaning, it’s believable without being obnoxious. By displaying subtle hints of despair and depression through the choice-making, they did a really great job in setting the tone of voice.
Along with the performance of the characters and the script, each aspect of this game is designed to build the emotions of the player. Getting a feel for Chris’ character means understanding the challenges he has to go through and DONTNOD’s expertise in this area is impressively shown.
A cinematic gameplay experience
Chris’ portrayal of childhood breeds a sense of innocence and immersion that is never broken. The gameplay and story are focused around performing simple tasks each with an imaginative heroic spin on them. Turning on the heater becomes a bid to transform into a superhero and defeat the evil “water eater”. This showcases Chris innocence and understanding of the world on par with that of a child. In the process of completing these tasks, the player is gradually eased into discovering the secrets to a dark story. The games constant character building and subtle hints enforce the idea of discovering just what exactly happened in their life to make such an impact.
There are no incredibly “actiony” sequences or intense fight scenes. Instead, the story is driven by character development and emotional attachment. Some tasks might mean trudging through albeit tedious sections but others are an artistic perspective of the story of a young boy who might not be any different from you or me. Towards the end, you are given some really heartfelt scenes to contend with. It’s a shame your choices don’t really influence the outcomes of the end. Especially because the game does such a good job of connecting you with Chris, its only natural to want the best possible ending for him.
The Adventures of Captain Spirit takes us into the world of emotional connections and story building. It serves as a short preview for those who want a glimpse into Dontnod’s universe of Life is Strange. The game is currently free. I would recommend this to those out there who enjoy a good storytelling cinematic experience. New to the series? Don’t miss out grabbing season one at a low price from the Steam Summer Sale. Life Is Strange 2 comes out on September 27, 2018, until which Captain Spirit was is a great stepping stone into the universe.